Like many first-time host parents, Jamie and Stephen Muenchen were nervous going into matching. Their Cultural Care matching specialist told them to take their time and really consider their options, but as Jamie says, “when you know, you know.”
Jamie and Stephen’s relationship with South African au pair Limoné began before she arrived in the US. In their second interview together, Limoné introduced them to her immediate family—they were sure that they were the perfect fit.
The feeling of family has only grown. Jamie says that from her first day, Limoné completely changed the dynamic of the home for the better. She says of Limoné, “Her genuine love for us and our daughter is evident each and every day.”
Limoné has created a really special relationship with her cute little host kid, Maggie. Jamie says that “when Maggie wants to be held, she is always reaching out for Limoné’s arms. When Maggie sees Limoné first thing in the morning, her face lights up like you wouldn’t believe. Limoné is Maggie’s absolute favorite person in the world, and I tend to think that Maggie is Limoné’s.”
Not only has Limoné been a great caregiver for Maggie, she also works to make sure the tot meets every growth milestone. Within a week of Limoné’s arrival to their home in Ohio, Maggie was able to sit up on her own, and five weeks later, she was crawling. Their current project is to work on some exciting new words. The Muenchen family’s pediatrician said that whatever they are doing with Maggie to help her develop and grow, keep doing it! Jamie and Stephen know that it is because of Limoné’s determination to make sure Maggie learns something new every day.
Limoné teaches Maggie, of course—but she teaches Jamie and Stephen as well! They have learned so much about her life in South Africa. Their home is a constant cultural exchange. Limoné loves to teach them new words, talk about rugby (her favorite sport), and make some of her favorite family recipes.
From Jamie’s perspective, some of the greatest family memories revolve around Limoné sharing her life with them: “When Limoné found out the South African national rugby team would be playing vs. Wales in Washington, DC, she paid for us to go to the game because she was dying to share the experience with us.” Jamie says that they had so much fun and had never had any experience like that before!
The Muenchen family also got to meet Limoné’s family from South Africa when they all took a combined family vacation to Orlando, Florida, and then hosted them for a week at their back home in Ohio. Stephen and Jamie think that by “getting to know them on such a personal level, we really did get an entire new family to add to ours.”
Looking back at their experience with Limoné, Jamie and Stephen know that “the decision to bring an au pair into our family has been the best decision we could have made for our daughter and ourselves.
Having an au pair has not only opened our eyes to a whole new culture and way of life, it has brought a new level of happiness into our home.”